Monday, August 14, 2017

Back to Homeschool Checklist

Hey y'all!  Even though we homeschool we still enjoy back-to-school shopping.  The excitement surrounding this shopping trip helps us all get get back into the groove of things after spending our days poolside during the summer.  We also tend to do family vacations or trips in July so August does end up having that back to school "feel."  We have a need to make sure items are replenished just like everyone else and we have our traditions that we love to jump start our fall schedule.  So here's our back-to-school list for our relaxed/unschooly family:

-Colored pencils
-3 Ring binder for each child
-White blank paper
-Construction paper
-Lined paper
-Clipboard for each child
-Glue sticks
-Scissors (they seem to get missing every year...ha!)

So not many items...thank goodness...but enough to get everyone excited about our new year.  What's on your list?


Monday, July 3, 2017

Nesting and Final Summer Plans

Soooooo, I'm totally aware that pregnancy is not a homeschooling topic, but it is a part of our life right now and this little one will continue to shake up homeschool plans, I'm sure:).  So I'm nesting big time, but I'm also trying to balance relaxing and taking in every aspect of this last pregnancy.  I've cleaned and decluttered every nook and cranny of our home, watched a lot of dancing with my family, done a lot of pool days, started planning our fall homeschooling with a newborn, and made sure that books and crafts are available to the kiddos.  Other than that, I'm done...haha!  I simply cannot focus on anything else and guess what?  The kids are having a fabulous summer!  Now if I can make sure each girl gets her mommy and me date before little sister comes, we do a lemonade stand, and we make it to the water park I'll win mommy of the year in my kids eyes!  So those are my last three goals for the summer:).


Monday, June 19, 2017

Cleaning While Homeschooling

So this has been the topic of conversation on several of the mom pages I follow on Facebook and among the small homeschool community to which I belong lately.  Here are a few things I've learned along the way that have proved to be helpful:

1.  Work together.  I'm not sure why some of us have this view that kids should be able to do it on their own.  Every adult I've ever talked to likes to have support while cleaning.  Unless there's some big decluttering project I'm doing, cleaning is much more fun and gets done quicker if it's a family affair.  I know there are some people who love organizing and decorating as a hobby.  What I'm talking about here, is simply everyone chipping in at the same time for the everyday upkeep of the home.

2.  Setup 2-3 10 minute pickup times each day.  Some will turn their noses up at this, but I live by it.  My kiddos can leave out ongoing projects but they need to be placed somewhere none of us will kill our selves as we walk through each room...ha!  Other than that, we pick up everything else right after lunch, right before we leave for dance, and on our way up to bed.
*This where you can do daily floor sweeping from food dropping during meals and dishes.

3.  I have found that everything else really depends on your family dynamics and personality.  Some people like to do one big laundry day while others like to split it up.  Some clean the whole cleaning cleaning as in wiping down stuff...on Saturdays while others do one room per day.  Whatever your family can do without feeling crazy...go with it!

4.  Remember to draw the line between the things you personally like to clean/organize and what the family will do together.  When I decide to rearrange a room I don't enlist anyone else to help unless they love doing it as well, want to pass off a service project for a Faith in God project, want to earn some extra money, or in the case of my husband...there's something I just can't lift alone.

Personally, as a homeschool mom, I feel as though one and two above can help any personality of mom who's trying to keep the house from being a total minefield. The other what makes you happy and what won't kill the happiness in your family:).


Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer Schooling

Hello all!  

We finished our testing requirement in our state last week and now we're on to our summer schooling.  Honestly, this doesn't look that much different than what we do August-May.  The difference for us is the addition of lots of pool time, our reading is driven by summer book clubs in addition to interest reading, we focus on learning new home responsibilities (i.e. chores...I don't like that word though so I say responsibilities...hehe), and we also want to get to a point where summer is the time where we physically visit places we've studied.  My husband's work schedule is more flexible during the summer months so we're able to travel as a family, which is always more fun.  

Our short list for summer schooling:
-Trip: family camping 
-Book Club: Online with Jamie at Simple Homeschool's "Give Your Child the World" book club
-Responsibilities: Laundry

What does summer schooling look like for you guys?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Test Week and Memorial Day

It's test week!!!  But first, Happy Memorial Day.  No matter how you're spending your day, I hope everyone takes the day to remember those who lost their lives serving this country.  It is not lost on me the ultimate sacrifice these particular men and women made for this country.  

So here we are...test week.  One homeschool requirement in NC is that you administer one test per year for each child you homeschool that's compulsory age (7 years old).  Last year was my first year doing it and it was fine, but long.  I'm a former high school counselor so testing is not new to me, but I had forgotten how much of the test is actually read out loud to students at the elementary level.  This year here are some things I've learned/remembered that may help you:

1.  For the test I use (CAT) the complete battery (CB) and the survey (SV) are the same in that the same subjects are tested but they differ in length of each section.  Basically, the survey is 2 hours shorter than the complete battery.  I won't go into our personal choice.  You select what's best for you and your child.
2.  Take the whole week or two depending on what you've selected.  Take your time.  It helps with test fatigue on your child's part and reading fatigue on yours.  I'm not sure why I had forgotten this piece.
3.  Relax.  I had no problem with this last year, but I feel it should be thrown in here so that I don't forget.  The kiddos are learning and progressing and that's all that matters to my husband and I.  This test is a requirement, not a measure of our children's worth.  

Happy testing to week to us!!!  


Monday, May 22, 2017

Homeschool Goals

Good morning!

I'm the type of personality that can get carried away with planning.  I need to plan for some inner peace and calm, but there comes a point where I have to stop because then it can paralyze me.  It's such an interesting cycle!  Over the years I've done a lot of  homeschool research/planning and finally feel like I can stop and just do this thing called homeschooling...that is until something shifts in one of my children or life...ha!   Anywho, writing is very cathartic and if done right it can be helpful in the goal setting process.  So below I've listed out our overall homeschool goals.  My husband and I sat down and discussed these and we feel good about keeping this list in mind when making homeschool decisions for our family.  To be clear, we didn't involve our kids with this list, but we do keep our "fingers on the pulse" of what they specifically like to do and learn about.  This list serves more as a guide for me and my husband...oh let's be I start getting wacko and outrageous with ideas and purchases I want to make...hehe!  The thing that was most important to me and my husband was that these goals mostly be gateways to other subjects and ideas.  The last 3 items on this list are the only ones that are specific and those are honestly areas that we feel are lost on a lot of kids these days.  To us, they are important to make sure we've given a good foundation in these areas while also still understanding that it's fine if our kids aren't geniuses in those areas.

Overall homeschool goals:
You have permission to be exactly who you are in our home
Awareness of the world (other countries- culturally and geographically) 
50 States
Multiplication facts

So there you go!  This list keeps us in check and opens up doors, naturally, in other areas like writing, science, history, and even math...Life of Fred for the win!!!  My goal this year is to "work the plan" and go with the tangents instead of staying in plan mode. I think I'm off to a great start.  


Monday, May 1, 2017

Welcome and Mom "School"

Welcome guys!!!  I'm going to jump into this blogging thing and skip all the...sorry I've been MIA stuff...ha!  So much has happened in our lives since the last time I was here and I'm happy to say that while it has been very up and down, the one thing that has remained constant is our family love and commitment to homeschooling.  So some housekeeping...I'm on Facebook at Passionate Learning- Homeschool/Unschooling (clarification...I'm somewhere between relaxed and unschool).  I'm also on Instagram @passionatelearningnc as well.  I'll post my blog posts on Facebook and go live as well so you can get a better "feel" for my personality!  

Ok, enough with the housekeeping.  Let's get to the first "schooling."  I hesitate to call it school, but I will waste time and not share if I waited for the perfect wording for everything. So, mom school is my effort to be the example to my children of life long learning and to be dedicated to self-care.  I'm pregnant with our 4th little girl and the first 4 months we're hard...really hard.  During this time, I pulled back from everything I could and did a lot of reflecting and I decided I would commit to take care of me and mom schooling was the answer.  So, what does that look like for me?  I've selected 6 books to finish this year, I've made a personal scripture plan for myself, and I've recommitted to my fitness goals.  Within these three areas there is time for me to be me everyday and it feels amazing!  The icing on the cake is that it shows my girls that although I love the season of giving a lot to them I have to fill my tank as well.  I know that this example will serve them tremendously in their lives as well.  I've already been nourished by my efforts and I'm so grateful the Lord saw fit to really show me the way in this area of my life.